Cancer isn’t an easy thing to adjust to. There are the treatments, the skin care issues, food and environment and the emotional and physical side effects. I can now understand how overwhelming it all can be. However, I think most diagnoses are wake-up calls that should be heeded. Whatever it means personally, there is work to be done and life to be readjusted. I was floored when I went to my first chemo session. The staff had laid out candy, cookies and pretzels for patients to snack on. The woman to my right was enjoying her second fast food burger and washing it down with an enormous Coke Zero. Complaints of nausea and sore joints followed the admittance of junk food bingeing and a lack of exercise. I waited for the nurses to reprimand these people and give them the spanking they deserved, but nothing close to that happened. In fact, prescriptions were handed out for lip sores and upset stomachs as if that was the only option. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not judging (ok, I am). I feel like everyone has to take responsibility for their own health. The western doctors are going to assist in the ways that they have been taught, which is medicine. I have a great respect for my oncologist. She is a truly wonderful woman who I do believe has my best interest in mind. I also believe she doesn’t have the time or the energy to sit every patient down and talk to them about the facts of life. From my vantage point, these patients don’t want to do any work. They want to go in, tell the doctor to fix them, and pretend that there is nothing habitually in their lifestyle that needs tweaking.
This is obviously not the road I decided to travel. I saw a nutritionist who specialized in cancer patients. I started receiving a CSA basket.
For those of you who haven’t found out about this incredible program, CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture and it’s heavenly. I get mine from South Coast Farms. Check out their website here: CSA. It’s all organic, all gorgeous and fresh, and millions of dollars less than a place I won’t mention (starts with a “W” and ends with a “hole Foods”). I have blogged about this before, but it’s worth repeating. Anyway, back to business. We started frequenting the farmers’ market with our new little walker.
I have taken gluten, sugar, dairy and meat out of my diet and replaced it with spelt, almond butter, green smoothies and local eggs. I started going to yoga three times a week, thanks to the generosity of my friend LB at the local studio. I attempt a few cardio walks per week with my daughter, her stroller and the quickly growing baby in my belly. And I feel good. I still have visions ice cream sundaes and gummy bears and corndogs in moments of weakness. I admit that I do take a few bites of my husband’s pizza and I have a hidden stash of dark chocolate mint squares that I indulge in once in a while. But if focusing on eating healthy most of the time leaves me feeling better in the end, then it’s a worthwhile trade. And guess who else is enjoying this antioxidant way of life?
Yes, she has turned into one healthy baby. And a foundation for a healthy lifestyle is one of the biggest gifts I can give her. So, cheers to kale smoothies and the downward facing dog!